Good service dog makes it into school yearbook right next to his human
Service dogs deserve recognition for the great deeds they perform daily. To them, they aren’t even great deeds. They are just … deeds.
Andrew “AJ” Schalk, a 16-year-old junior at Stafford High School in Virginia, certainly wanted to give his service dog, Alpha, the respect that was deserved for someone who has saved his life several times. So he asked his school if they’d be willing to give his dog a spot in the yearbook, and the result is adorable.
That’s a GOOD dog if I’ve ever seen one.
Schalk was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2009. “The decision to get a service dog came about just to have greater control over my blood sugar and A1C, and Alpha has even saved my life on multiple occasions,” Schalk said.
As Schalk’s service dog, Alpha’s job is to alert Schalk if his blood sugar is getting too low or too high by sniffing his breath. If undetected, Schalk could be in danger. But with Alpha on the case, he has peace of mind.
Alpha joined Schalk’s family when he was four months old, and has now been with Schalk for three and a half years. Halfway through the previous school year, Schalk started bringing Alpha with him to school.
“I started by bringing him once a week, then twice, and so on and so forth until he was fully acclimated,” Schalk explained. Alpha is now a consistent presence at Stafford High, attending classes with Schalk every day.
“Alpha is not a distraction at all!” Schalk said. “He lays under my desk during class, and even though everyone knows he is there, everyone still pays attention to class and loves having him there.”
Who wouldn’t love knowing that there is a dog nearby at all times? We sure wouldn’t mind.
Alpha is so beloved at the school, in fact, that when Schalk asked if he could be in the yearbook the request was happily granted.
“I talked to a friend of mine in the yearbook club and asked of we could get Alpha into the yearbook,” Schalk said. “She took it to the teacher in charge and all the teachers and administration were 100% supportive.”
Good boy Alpha also got himself an official student ID.
“All my classmates loved seeing Alpha in the yearbook,” Schalk said. “And people that I didn’t know loved the surprise of having a service dog in the yearbook.”
Schalk, a junior, has one more year of high school left, and that means Alpha gets to make another yearbook cameo.
“I for sure plan on having him in the yearbook next year as well,” Schalk confirmed.